KZN Premier Willies Mchunu and Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube Picture: Se-Anne Rall

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs is appealing for residents to come forward and claim the bodies of their loved ones, which remain at mortuaries in the city. 

The call was made by Cogta MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube after reports were noted about seven unidentified bodies still at Pinetown, Phoenix and Gale Street mortuaries. It is believed that these people may be foreign nationals. 

"We realise it is a painful process to identify bodies of our loved ones but this also offers a form of closure and this is why we urge those families that have not yet done so to come forward. The government is doing all in its power to lighten the burden and assistance with burials is one such thing," she said.

The provincial government has teamed up with the eThekwini metro where as many as 65 people died during the floods that occurred on April 22. One result of this effort is the help desk which is assisting families of flood victims with the identification process at three dedicated mortuaries, namely Gale Street, Pinetown and Phoenix.

"This is a time when we all need to come together and assist the grieving families. For our part as government, we continue to provide shelter and other forms of emergency relief as well as assistance with lost ID documents and school uniforms to help all those affected by the recent floods to rebuild their lives," Dube-Ncube said. 

She said the floods that devastated eThekwini and the neighbouring coastal areas of KZN at the end of Easter weekend have claimed a record number of casualties. The damages in the province stand at R1.1-billion and the assessment still continues. The government will hold a Provincial Day of Prayer and Mourning for the victims on May 2 at Curries Fountain Stadium in eThekwini.

The Mercury